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Let's build a wall, hire more guards, spend more and fail again, because that's what we do best.

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It has long been argued that Congressional representatives and Senators have but one job while serving and that is to get re-elected. I am sure that there are those elected who do not fall into this category, but how else to explain why when running for office they use the "I will fight for you" mantra. It's always a fight -- Democrats and Republicans want to be elected to fight and fight some more.

We've had representatives in the House for 20 or more years and every 2 years for reelection they tell us, "I will fight for you." So either they are piss poor fighters or they are not fighting at all. The same thing in the Senate --- every 6 years, they will fight for us and they drag the fight for decades without winning -- hell, I am not even sure if they've had at least a draw.

Part of the chicanery in the "fight" is to make it look like they are actually doing something concrete. That they are getting ahead of the game and we, the citizens, are getting our money's worth.

When Democrats are in the majority, the idea is to give us more and more benefits geared to make our lives easier and better, while the Republicans will fight to not allow this to happen. Then the roles change when Republicans are the majority (as is the case now), they will fight to repeal what the Democrats have "fought" for and "fight" for us to lower spending and taxes.

And here is the kicker, they pass legislation that on the surface looks good, makes sense, and if properly administered and enforced would probably be good. But this cannot be allowed, otherwise what the heck would there be to fight over?

This essays, deals with the "fight" since soon after WWII -- illegal immigration issue. Mind you they've had several decades in which to figure it out and do something, but instead they have chosen to fight, fight and fight some more.

Let's do a quick review. Soon after the US entered WWII, farms and factories emptied out as men were needed in the military. Factory jobs were mostly filled by women, but the farms needed strong backs, long hours, and heat of the day endurance. The US and Mexico came to an agreement, Mexican farm workers were brought allowing food to continue to flow into American homes. This arrangement was known as the Bracero Program. After the war the arrangement continued as the former farm boys, after being exposed to a different lifestyle didn't want to return to farming, and with the Veteran's educational benefits by the thousands they went to college never to set foot for work at a farm.

Farms found it more convenient and cheaper to not contract the Mexican workers under the Bracero program. So they began hiring workers without contracts and the required temporary visa becoming "illegal immigrants." As early as 1947, President Truman requested Congress to pass laws prohibiting hiring undocumented workers -- but there was no "fight" from either party as their members were receiving substantial campaign donations to ignore the issue.

In 1963, when the Bracero program was officially terminated, Congress passed legislation creating a "temporary agricultural guest worker visa" classified as H-2 visa. There was a "fight" in creating the special guest worker visa, but there was no "fight" to enforce the requirement so it was mostly ignored and the practice to hire undocumented farm workers continued unabated until there were several million such workers among us.

Finally in 1984, President Reagan began the process of urging Congress to enact immigration reform legislation -- and the "fight" was on. But Reagan was a great communicator and persuader so by 1986 the Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) was passed and Regan signed it into law.

On the surface it seemed that Republican Reagan had won a major battle -- and he had. The act was made up of 3 major clauses: 1. It became illegal to hire undocumented workers (provided fines and possible prison time), 2. It gave temporary amnesty to illegal immigrants who had continually resided in the US for at least 5 years prior to the enactment of the law (also provided a path to permanent residency after 5 years and eventual citizenship after another 5 years), 3. I made some changes to the temporary agricultural workers visa renaming it H-2A which was an improvement over the one issued in 1963.

Democrats liked the legislation as it would provide a few million more potential Democrat Party members, while the right-wing of the Republican Party didn't like the idea. So on the surface the "fight" was on.

Of the 3 clauses on the legislation the only one that worked as written was the second one -- the amnesty -- the other two were ignored by both Democrats and Republicans in Congress --- why? Because neither Democrats nor Republicans will "fight" when political contributions are to be had.

Take California as an example --- agriculture represents $30-billion in annual sales -- undocumented workers put in 60 hours per week without overtime, no benefits, no health insurance, and no one to complain to if mistreated or abused. Complying with the H-2A visa requirements farmers would have to pay a wage equal to that paid to a US legal worker, which would have been around 3 times more than pay to the undocumented. In California there are around 350,000 such workers representing over $200-million in weekly payroll savings.

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Former Editor of HispanicVista.com (2000 to 2010), a weekly online news magazine dealing with US-Mexico and Hispanic-American issues. Weekly columnist with HVC. Monthly columnist for the San Diego Metropolitan Magazine, The Connection, which (more...)

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